National News

Fare rises hit poorer families hardest

PASSENGERS ON privatised trains in Britain have to spend £4.6 billion a year more than equivalent travellers in France, where railways remain publicly owned, a study undertaken for RMT, Britain’s biggest rail union, has found.

Research undertaken by Just Economics calculated that, mile-for-mile travelled, rail passengers in Britain would save £4.6 billion-a-year if fares were set at the same level as France, where they are four times cheaper.

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BMA rejects revamped NHS Bill

THE BRITISH Medical Association last week rejected the Con-Dem Coalition’s Health and Social Care Bill, voting by 59 per cent against it at its annual conference in Cardiff.

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Virgin pilots ready to strike

PILOTS employed by Virgin Atlantic Airlines last week balloted overwhelmingly for strike action in a long-running dispute over pay Their union, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has not yet set strike dates but has called for the airline’s owner, Sir Richard Branson to step in to help settle the dispute.

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End of an era in Greenwich fight against racism

by New Worker correspondent

THE GREENWICH Council for Racial Equality was formally wound up last Tuesday evening at its annual general meeting in Woolwich, after a long and successful fight against racism and discrimination in the area.

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Elderly care crisis to deepen

COUNCIL care services for the elderly are suffering from devastating cuts, according to the charity Age UK.

A survey carried out by Age UK shows councils are cutting funding for elderly care services by an average of 8.4 per cent. This means the average net spending on people over 65 will fall to £791, compared with £864 last year. For those who need higher levels of care, the spending will fall from £2,548 to £2,335.

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RMT win reinstatement

THE RAIL union RMT last week called off planned strike action by members working for London Underground Limited after a union activist who had been unfairly sacked in December last year was reinstated.

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Fujitsu workers vote for strike

MEMBERS of Unite employed by IT services giant Fujitsu in Crewe, voted to take strike action on Thursday 30th June over the unfair treatment of local trade union activist Alan Jenney.

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Massacre on the High Street

OFFICIAL Government figures show the economy is growing, ever so slightly at 0.5 per cent. But High Street sales are telling a different story as a number of high street chains have gone out of business, or come under threat of closure, this week.

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Can we afford Charles?

THE FUNDING provided by taxpayers for the Prince of Wales’ increased by nearly 18 per cent last year, his official accounts show. The income from grants-in-aid and Government departments rose 17.9 per cent from £1.66 million to £1.96 million.

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International News

Afghanistan: rhetorical games

by Eduardo JoséGonzález

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has announced the long-awaited timetable for the withdrawal of his country’s troops from Afghanistan in a speech full of rhetorical ambiguity that could not hide the reality of this bloody aggression.

According to Obama, 33,000 US troops will return home, of which 10,000 will be withdrawn by the end of this year and the rest by the end of the summer of 2012 — which is, not coincidentally, right before the presidential elections in the United States.

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One cheer for Italian vote

by John Catalinotto

ITALY, the West European country with the largest debt burden, is showing signs of a change in political mood. The strikes have not been as dramatic as those in Greece, and youth aren’t seizing the plazas across the country but for the first time in years the vote has been going against media magnate President Silvio Berlusconi and his rightist allies.

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Muchas words and poco money

by Ed Newman

THE FIRST Central American Integration System’s Summit on Security (SICA) closed in Guatemala City last week, and, as often happens at such events, there were lots of speeches, good intentions, promises and commitments, but not a single signed paper to ensure its implementation.

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Ocalan: prison writings

REVIEW

by Andy Brooks Prison Writings: The PKK And The Kurdish Question In The 21st Century by Abdullah Ocalan, London 2011, 174 pp Pluto Press, £17.50.

ABDULLAH Ocalan was the leader of the Kurdish resistance in Turkey that was the focus for all progressive Kurds in the fight for freedom. Kidnapped in Kenya in 1999, Ocalan was tried and condemned to death by the Turkish authorities. Though this was commuted to life imprisonment, Ocalan remains to this day in prison on the island of Imrali.

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Diabetes: goodbye amputations

by Professor Alberto Quirantes Hernández

HEBERPROT-P is a new injectable medicine developed by eminent Cuban scientists at the national Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Centre (CIGB), together with highly qualified professionals of the National Institute of Angiology and Vascular Surgery.

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The Founding of a Party

Xinhua news agency

NEARLY three million Chinese paid to watch the Founding of a Party, an epic film marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in the first five days of screening, the film’s releaser said last week.

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Features

New repercussions for violence in Mexico

by Jacinto Granda de Laserna

MEXICO’s most dramatic aspect, the daily violence resulting from the drug trade, is once again causing major national repercussions and recent events have highlighted the issue in political life, the press and society in general.

A 13th June report from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) acknowledged that 70 per cent of weapons seized by the Mexican authorities from drug dealers have their origin in the United States.

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China can derive strength from Party history

by Li Xiaosan,

executive vice president of the Jinggangshan Cadre Academy of China

FRIEDRICH Engels once said: “History is everything to us” and the 90-year history of the Communist Party of China is also the inspired history of the Chinese revolution, the unyielding history of Chinese construction and the magnificent history of Chinese reform.

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Heavy rains add to political devastation in Haiti

by G Dunkel

AT LEAST 23 people died in Port-au-Prince on 6th June after a night of heavy rain. Six people were listed as missing. Some 500 dwellings — tents and tarpaulins — were destroyed. The rains also brought an increase of cholera cases, with the number of deaths due to this disease climbing to more than 5,000.

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